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Re: RDF in XHTML

From: Murray Altheim <altheim@eng.sun.com>
Date: Mon, 16 Apr 2001 16:37:34 -0700
Message-ID: <3ADB823E.929E25EB@eng.sun.com>
To: "Charles F. Munat" <chas@munat.com>
CC: RDF Interest <www-rdf-interest@w3.org>
"Charles F. Munat" wrote:
> 
> Sean B. Palmer wrote:
> "Thus, I guess I conclude that embedding information into XHTML is
> quite a good idea, when you weigh up all sides of the debate."
> 
> I disagree.
> 
> Yes, it would be good to have a way to embed metadata right in the XHTML,
> but for the near future it would be better to link to a separate metadata
> document. Here's why I think this:
> 
> The vast majority of page loads for at least the foreseeable future will be
> by legacy browsers unable to do anything with the metadata. If the metadata
> is embedded in the XHTML, all of those page loads will have to bring down
> the (useless) metadata. What a tremendous waste of bandwidth.
> 
> If we can link to the metadata via a link element, then only those user
> agents needing the metadata will access it. It will still be accessible to
> anyone using older browsers (though they might have to look at the source to
> find the link), but we'll save a lot of bandwidth.
> 
> I would think that this would be of concern to every site developer. Making
> it possible to link to metadata might encourage its early adoption.
> 
> So first, let's find a mechanism to link to RDF from XHTML. Then we can find
> a way to embed it at our leisure.

The difficulty with external links is first of all management. If you have
1000 documents you'd have 1000 metadata files. It's a lot simpler to add
the markup into the document, a lot easier to be sure you've got the right
metadata, and spiders can obtain the data directly. I also think it'll be
a lot easier for authors and braindead tools. Documents will also remain
rather portable.

The argument on bandwidth seems a bit unwarranted. The amount of metadata
is usually pretty small, much smaller than the smallest GIF image on a
web page. For example, your message in my mailbox took up 1221 characters,
which would probably be three or four times (at least) the size of the
metadata in a typical XHTML document (a Dublin Core record is not very
big). Most GIFs are at least ten times that size.

This is not to say that somebody shouldn't harass the HTML WG about adding
in a standard feature in XHTML 2.0 to link to DC metadata (or a general
metadata link with attribute stating a notation type of "DC").

Murray

...........................................................................
Murray Altheim                            <mailto:altheim&#x40;eng.sun.com>
XML Technology Center
Sun Microsystems, Inc., MS MPK17-102, 1601 Willow Rd., Menlo Park, CA 94025

      In the evening
      The rice leaves in the garden
      Rustle in the autumn wind
      That blows through my reed hut.  -- Minamoto no Tsunenobu
Received on Monday, 16 April 2001 19:14:38 GMT

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